Facebook Tricks for Better Engagement by Lisa Hall-Wilson

Lisa Hall-Wilson, the Queen Mum of Facebook, is back with some nifty tricks and a free giveaway! I’ve sat in on her Using Facebook to Build Author Platform (where she rocked my world) and I have a feeling y’all are going to clang those cowbells before you’re done here today.

Take it away, Lisa…


If there’s one thing you can count on about Facebook, it’s change.

Oh no – I don’t want to know… Now – hold on. I’m here to walk you through this because this change will help you. Honest.

I wrote for Kristen Lamb on Puppy Dog Eyes and LOL Cats a few weeks ago about one way to get better engagement on Facebook. I recommended you share a photo with a link to your blog in the description because photos get better engagement.

Better engagement equals better Edgerank equals more eyeballs on your content. That’s the name of the game, isn’t it?

Or is it?

If engagement is what you want, keep on.

Ahhh – here’s where we get techy.

A recent post by Facebook expert Jon Loomer has made Facebook managers everywhere questioning this best practice in the last two weeks. So I did a small test on the WANA Intl Facebook page which I administrate.

What are you using Facebook to do?

First, let’s examine what you want your Facebook profile or page to do for you. If you’re using Facebook to build a community or tribe, you want that engagement.

You want people to chat with each other, interact with your content, share your content. That’s how you organically grow your page’s audience and your tribe. Having good Edgerank is what you’re after.

But what if you want your page to drive traffic to your blog or website? You’re more interested in how many people clicked the link and read the blog than liked the photo, right?

There’re two stats that measure engagement. One is called Engagement (I’m going to call this Big E Engagement) and the other is called People Talking About This (PTAT). PTAT tells us how many users created a story with our content (shared, liked, commented). Big E Engagement tells us all that, but also how many clicks the content received.

Here are two examples for posting links. The one on the left is using a teaser status update with a link. The picture on the right is a straight link share. (To do this paste a url (link) in the status update box, and when the preview box appears, delete the link and hit post.)

link example 1link example 2

Now based on the engagement each link received, which do you think was more successful in driving traffic? Let’s look at the stats.

Here are the stats for Captain Kirk. The first number is Reach – how many people could have potentially seen the post, the second is Big E Engagement (how many clicked, liked, shared, commented). The third is PTAT. Both posts received almost the same PTAT, but we’re concerned with Big E Engagement – how many people clicked the link?

link example 3

Here’s the stats for the second example.

link example 4

That’s 26 vs. 43 for the Big E Engagement.

If my goal is to drive traffic, which post was more ‘successful’? The second example without the teaser, by almost double. The better Big E Engagement stat boosted the Edgerank and increased the Reach as well. link example 5

These were posted on different days, but at the same time of day. Tip: When you’re just posting links blog titles and photos become extremely important.

OK – but what about the photos sharing a link? Let’s look at that. Here’s a typical example from the WANA Intl page.

link example 6

12?? This is now performing worse than the status update links! Just when you thought you had it figured out…

The best practice until recently was to post a photo or status update with a description and a link. Essentially, we were ‘tricking’ Edgerank into showing your post to more people by disguising a link as a photo or status update. That doesn’t seem to be the best way to do it any longer.

This is a very small sampling of data. Edgerank and engagement are still important, and your overall content strategy should include links to drive traffic, but also post other kinds of content to add value for your fans. On the posts where your objective is to drive traffic off of Facebook consider this strategy. Take a look at your stats and see if what I found is also true for your page.

If you’re using a profile to build platform, try the experiment I did and check your blog stats. In the hour you post and perhaps the hour following when you post, how much traffic did you receive from Facebook? This isn’t a perfect method, but a good guestimate as to how effective your posting strategy is.

Will you be trying this experiment? Let me know how it goes! Do you think this is a good change by Facebook?

I’m doing a Facebook blitz this week to help promote my six week class, Using Facebook to Build Author Platform.

You can find me tomorrow on Marcy Kennedy’s blog talking about Facebook Jail and on Thursday at Jami Gold’s blog talking about whether you should have a page or use your profile to build your platform.

As thanks for hanging out and clanging those cowbells, I’m giving away a free written critique of a Facebook author/writer page to one commenter on each blog. Leave a comment on each blog to triple your chances of winning! Winners will be selected on Friday.



About Lisa Hall-Wilson

Lisa_hall_wilson-300x200I’m passionate about making the world a better place one get-off-your-butt-and-do-something article at a time. I’m a call-it-as-I-see-it truth-teller & freelance writer, history nut & dog-owning cat lover.

I write dark fantasy fiction, make Facebook a happy place for writers, and blog Through The Fire because no experience is wasted when you share it to help others. I tweet but Facebook is where I love to hang out:  www.facebook.com/lisawilsonwriter.

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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69 Responses to Facebook Tricks for Better Engagement by Lisa Hall-Wilson

  1. Kim Cleary says:

    Great post … I have that facebook class in my future !


  2. Great information, Lisa! I’ve never been good about using my Facebook author page, but have been trying to be more involved for the past month or so. I think since Marcy (?) posted something about how to use it more effectively. I’d be hard pressed to know what post will be a ‘hit’ though. The best one in the past few days was just a status update where I was being completely silly about wanting a bag of movie theater popcorn. No links, no pictures…but the numbers were some of my best. It was really surprising. I’ll have to read this again after I get some sleep, and see if I can figure out more effective things to do. 🙂


    • Variety is really important. Keep at it. Even experienced admins who do this full-time have to experiment and have lots of failures before they land on a few things that work well.


  3. OK. So! Most of this went zooop! right over my head.

    Why? [I assumed you’d ask, so I asked for you. You’re welcome.]

    Because I have avoided getting to know and engage with Facebook. Why do those people LIKE me? No clue. I use my page to promote posts I like, and then I disappear into a pud muddle. This type of behavior is why a PTAT of 2 on that nasty informative Weekly Update yields a 1,100,000% improvement.

    Perhaps this series (and, your 6-week course?) are the Cosmo’s way of knocking me on the noggin.

    I recently made a decision (first-sip-of-coffee-recently) to fire the old boss of my glob and hire a new me to make certain I routinely post. It wants to one day graduate from glob to B-L-O-G. You’ve moved me from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence. I now know that I don’t know squat about FB. Thank you??? Damnit!


  4. Huh. I never would have thought that would be the case. I suspect Facebook, like Amazon, tweaks with the way that sort of thing is handled behind our backs and doesn’t tell us. It’s a giant game of “figure this out” and then watch as they move the goal posts. I’m going to try doing as you suggest and see what happens.


  5. It’s a fascinating thing, how FB works – and doesn’t. I notice a marked difference in how much engagement status updates receive on a profile vs. a page (more on the profile). I think part of the challenge is the sheer volume of what people see in their feeds. How do you catch their eyes and make them pause? What would make them click out of curiosity, if not pure interest? (And what would make them stay for a visit on the other side of the click?) The gears are spinning. 🙂


  6. FB is both a delight and crazy making. I love being able to keep in touch with people and am still trying to figure out how to get it to drive traffic to my blog. I will be stalking, er, following you around the blogosphere in hopes of learning (and I have your class on my to-do list. Just need to finish the scrivener class –and my book–first! I have heard great things about your class.)


  7. Ginger Calem says:

    Great stuff, Lisa. I love analyzing this sort of thing. I have numerous FB pages, profile, author page, my CrossFit page. It’s interesting to see how each one generates different sorts of engagement. I look forward to more of these posts. Thanks!


  8. When Facebook was fun (back in 2004), we didn’t have to play these reindeer games. I find it all kind of exhausting now. I’m glad to know that you are out there enjoying the changes. I am just trying to maintain my privacy every time they change THAT! 🙂


    • Facebook has taken quite a few hits in the privacy end of things for sure. They’re much better now than they used to be, have made things easier to find and individualize.


  9. LIsa — what would we ever do without you??? Thanks so much for this! Do you have any influence with the FaceBook Big Dudes? Because if you do, please, please, please tell them to stop messing with our stuff!!! Most FB page admins/owners don’t have a full time page administrator and can’t afford to hire one or to spend the time to learn all of this stuff only to relearn it again tomorrow. If they want us to keep using FB (and I do like FB a lot!), tell them that they aren’t helping!!!!


  10. Hmm, I want more likes. I will be more likeable, and read your wise words again after I have eaten my breakfast.


  11. WOW – I almost always put some sort of teaser when I put up my blog on FB. I guess I’ll stop doing that and see what happens…great post, Lisa! I bow to your wisdom…


  12. Ummmm… I have to admit after a while I was like “whaaaaat?” Most went over my head too, I’m very non-techy. Trying to figure out all the stat info, because I’ve left blogging behind and have devoted my interaction to my FB author page and Twitter. So I’m not driving traffic anywhere, I’m just trying to build more of an audience right there. So now I’m back to not knowing what you said. LOL. I’ll go back and read it slower. 🙂


  13. Steph says:

    I’ll be sitting in on the coming round of classes. Lisa and I belong to the same writers’ group and she has taught me much over the years. I look forward to learning from her in a more “formal” setting.


    • Awww – thanks, Steph. This class is gonna be AWESOME! I’ve reworked all my lessons, added a few, etc. The live webinars are really helpful because I use a tonne of screenshots for those visual learners, and you can ask questions live.


  14. Jenny Hansen says:

    I just approved 3 comments, Lisa, so do jump to the top of the list. You’re on fire today, girlfriend!!


  15. Sharla Rae says:

    I’m a non-techie so this mostly went over my head but I’m glad people actually experiment “for” me so that when the time comes, I can re-read this helpful blog. 🙂


  16. I know you say all this change it good, but I really struggle to keep up with all of Facebook’s changes. I can understand changing this around once a year or once every since months even, but…

    Anyway, thanks for updating us all on best posting practices. I’ll be testing this out to see what happens. And I’m looking forward to having you post at my place tomorrow!


  17. This is such a wondeful post on engagement. I do agree that it is the most difficult thing to do for a manager.


  18. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for this, Lisa. I’m also a non-techie, and while I understand some things, coordinated facebook planning isn’t one of them! I’m a long way from having an author page, but I use it to drive traffic to my blog. I definitely get blog hits from it when I post, but I think it’s mostly from you guys and people who know me personally! your class is on my to-do list for later, but I’ll be following you around this week. Thanks!


  19. Jenny Hansen says:

    Whatever you’re doing on Facebook with this post is working. 🙂 It’s not even noon yet and I’ve had 3x the number of Facebook link referrals that I’d normally get in a day. You go, girl!!


  20. K.R. Brorman says:

    I’m so excited to run a test and see how much traffic FB generates for the blog. Thanks for hitting the high points.


  21. Okay. That’s all cool. I think.

    Perhaps I should take your class Lisa. I only know a little bit about Facebook. Just enough to get a few simple – very simple – things done. When is the class?

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  22. Yet another of your great posts that I’ve bookmarked for future reference, Lisa. Thanks!


  23. Janis Cox says:

    What I have noticed is I get more comments and whatever “viral” is when I post one of my paintings. Found your study fascinating – that your words did not drive more people to the post.
    Janis http://www.janiscox.com


    • Jan, virality isn’t a stat that tells us much that’s useful. I mean, it’s nice — but Engagement and PTAT are much more valuable. The comments and likes and shares (this stat is PTAT), will boost your Edgerank (how interesting FB thinks you are). Photos still do this very effectively.


  24. Jess Witkins says:

    Consider my mind blown. What?!!! I really hadn’t thought about any of this which is evidence that I should take Lisa’s WANA course. I’ve gotten out of the habit to use Facebook, so I know I’m not maximizing its strengths right now. I prefer twitter…but I want to have a good presence all around the social sites I’m using for my author platform.

    Thanks Lisa and Jenny for sharing this advice! I will be testing it out!


  25. emmaburcart says:

    Well, I’m glad the photo thing is over because I could not figure that one out! I couldn’t even click on it as a reader and have it go anywhere. I’m definitely not techy. My biggest issue with facebook is time. And figuring out what to post and where to. It is all very complicated. Thanks for clearing it up for us. I think I will end up doing my own experiment, probably as an accident. And I don’t know how to find those “ranking” type numbers, let alone how to read them. I just go by when people comment or share. 🙂


    • But that’s my point. When you only go by how much people comment, like or share, you could be missing out on a huge piece of the puzzle. That said, those stats aren’t available to profiles. The other thing to keep in mind is that those link boxes are kinda sketchy on mobile – I find they don’t work at least half the time. If the url isn’t in the status update mobile users can’t follow the link. 😦


  26. Zoe Dawson says:

    What great information! I think it’s time I bit the bullet and created a page. Likes here I come.


  27. Great information! I am trying to learn all I can about social media.


  28. filbio says:

    Some great info here, and very valid. I made a FB page for my blog and use it to not only promote my new posts, but to also have fun and put up a lot of crazy pics, articles, and tidbits to keep the followers engaged. Still learning myself about all the social networking to use.



    • Why create a page for your blog? Why not create a page about you — and your blog is one of the ways people can learn more about you, engage with you, read your work? Then if you write a book, whatever – you’re not stuck trying to juggle multiple pages that split your brand? Food for thought. Thanks for commenting.


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  30. Oh my goodness, I have so much to learn! It “bloggels” my brain. 🙂
    This is one post I’ll have to read more than once.


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  32. huh. I post things to both my personal Profile as well as my blog’s fan Page. And on both accounts, I post sometimes with a teaser, sometimes without. But I never once examined the traffic afterward to see which works better. I’m surprised my hubz didn’t watch this number, either, as he is the one more interested in this sort of thing. Now I’m curious. Darn you — I think you just managed to talk me into spending a bit more time on FB figuring things out! *grrr*


  33. The winner of the free critique is Emma Burcart. Emma, send me an email at lisa at lisahallwilson dot com, or find me on Facebook at facebook.com/lisawilsonwriter and we’ll get you set up! Thanks everyone for stopping by and commenting.


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  36. Well, I just made the first mistake. Sent you a friend request because I liked the content on a FB share of one of your articles, Lisa. So who the heck is Maryann Miller. (smile) These are helpful tips and I will try to absorb as much as I can. I can remember when communicating was done either face to face or over the telephone lines. All this new technology is challenging. (smile)


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